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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

Category Archives: art therapy

“One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes.”           -Volt, Futurist Manifesto Of Women’s Fashion (1920)

Gallery 1313 is excited to have Paula John’s Celluloid Dress on display in the Windowbox for September 2015.

Celluloid Dress plays with the relationship between two technologies that creator Paula John uses in her art practice – sewing and 16mm celluloid filmmaking. Inspired in part by Volt’s “Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion,” this wearable dress is made from over 250 feet of exposed 16mm film from one of John’s own films and nylon mesh. LEDs stitched into the skirt illuminate individual frames and project the images onto nearby surfaces for a truly stunning effect.

This amazing piece will be on exhibit in the Windowbox for September, during the period when the city’s attention turns to film with the Toronto International Film Festival. Celluloid Dress will provide viewers with an entirely different twist on what film can be, and stimulate their imaginations to consider other uses and convergences for familiar technologies.

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

Paula will be giving an Artist’s Talk at the reception on Sunday, September 13th from 3-5 p.m. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet a unique artist and view one of the results of her creative vision.

-Lisa Anita Wegner, Windowbox co-curator for Gallery 1313

Artist Statement

Celluloid Dress is a performance-based installation that combines the mediums of sewing and 16mm filmmaking to explore the numerous similarities between the two technologies. I was inspired by the early twentieth century Avant-garde art movement Futurism, and in particular the 1920 Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion by Vincenzo Fani (Volt). In it he declares,

Women’s fashion has always been more or less Futurist. Fashion: the female equivalent of Futurism. Speed, novelty, courage of creation… Fashion is an art, like architecture and music…Women’s fashion can never be extravagant enough… The reign of silk in the history of female fashion must come to an end, just as the reign of marble is now finished in architectural constructions. One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes. We fling open wide the doors of the fashion ateliers to paper, cardboard, glass, tinfoil, aluminum, ceramic, rubber, fish skin, burlap, oakum, hemp, gas, growing plants, and living animals.[1]

The Futurists valued speed, dynamism and new technologies, and were interested in transforming all sensory aspects of life. This extended to art, literature, music, food, architecture, and even fashion. In the spirit of the Futurists I developed a project in which I could combine two technologies that I use in my art practice: sewing and filmmaking. I merged the two technologies by first sewing a dress out of film. The handmade dress was sewn entirely out of 16mm celluloid film and nylon mesh, using approximately 250 feet of one of my films. I stitched LEDs into the skirt, which illuminate individual frames and project the images onto nearby surfaces. I then physically linked the two technologies in a performance, using a film loop to connect the sewing machine and the projector.

There are a number of similarities between sewing and 16mm film making, the most explicit being that Singer, the leading manufacturer of sewing machines, also made 16mm projectors. There are also parallels between the machines themselves. Both a sewing machine and a projector are threaded; both machines have a spool and a take up; both machines make similar sounds; tension is important; and the presser foot and the film gate serve essentially the same purpose on their respective machines. Even the movements of the machines reflect each other with the spinning of the reels and of the balance wheel. The process of editing a film is also similar to sewing, where shots are stitched together. The type of 16mm filmmaking that I personally engage in shares strong similarities with the act of sewing. Both processes take place within my home at the kitchen table. Both sewing and analog filmmaking are highly tactile and laborious practices where the physicality of the medium is emphasized.

For the performance aspect of the piece I project a copy of that same film through a 16mm projector on a continuous loop. The film loops through the projector and physically moves throughout the space through the use of pulleys attached to the ceiling. Approximately fifteen feet in front of the projector sits a sewing machine, which has been modified to add a film gate, allowing the film to pass through it on its loop. During the performance, I sit at the machine while wearing the film dress and sew the film as the projector drives it forward. The film is projected on both the sewing machine and my body, and as I sew, holes are punctured in the celluloid abstracting the image. Eventually through this process as more and more holes are punctured in the film the filmstrip is completely destroyed and breaks apart.

Bio

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

[1] Volt, . “Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion.” Trans. Array Futurism: An Anthology. . 1st ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. 253-54. Print.



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Art Saves Lives is the first joint exhibition of Angela Chao and Lisa Anita Wegner, two visual artists whose work grew out of brain injuries they had experienced. Angela suffered a concussion at her work on a film set, while Lisa lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. lisa_angela

They connected over their art being the way out of their personal traumas, allowing them to both function and stay connected to their true selves. They share an understanding of art as something they need on a daily basis to nourish their souls, and are so simpatico on this, that they refer to themselves as each other’s “Brain Buddies.”

Angela and Lisa are eager to share their stories and their art, helping to spread awareness to others that art is a very real therapeutic option.

Come to see their show of paintings, post-production photography and collage now on display at the gallery at Richview Library: and visit their website at artsaveslives.ca.

After a concussion curtailed her first career, ANGELA CHAO discovered cranio-therapy and found herself able to think freely and begin to escape the personality and mental changes, PTSD, depression and anxiety that had plagued her since her accident. Even more exhilarating, she could sit still and accomplish things, an ability that had been taken from her. She started doodling and discovered her hidden artist, and a place where she can leave behind mental challenges and be free to create.

In her new career as an artist, she has already won an award at the Art Square gallery where her work premiered, as well as Flight Centre’s first prize of a trip to New Zealand and Australia in a competition with 1800 artists. She recently competed in Art Battle 2015, and has donated her artwork to an AIDs charity event at TIFF.  In addition, her unique story has generated coverage by the Mississauga News, Brain Injury Association and Hospital News. http://mindlessdoodle.ca/unnamed copy

LISA ANITA WEGNER is the creative producer of Mighty Brave Productions, a small award-winning multi-media production company based in Toronto. She has been exploring film, video, post-production photography and performance art for over twenty years, with an emphasis on emotional authenticity, collaboration, and – since experiencing a PTSD-related breakdown, the possibilities of art as therapy. Her work has been shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gallery 1313, Moniker Gallery, Toronto Art Fair, Buddies in Bad Times, The Black Cat Artspace, NXNE Festival, Partners In Art’s ARTrageous In Motion, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and, most recently, at the RAW Sensory show at Toronto’s Mod Club. www.lisaismightybrave.com

lisa

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Lisa Anita Wegner

Lisa Anita Wegner

Dear Gaga,

My name is Lisa and I am a filmmaker, performance artist, curator, storyteller, light bender and space/time traveller. You inspire me tremendously, and I am writing to express my appreciation for what you have sparked in my work, beginning with Queen of the Parade, my first large-scale performance/fashion/video installation and the work that put me on the map as an artist. 

Rise and Fall of The Queen of Jupiter 2016

Rise and Fall of The Queen of Jupiter 2016

 

In 2008, I had hit hard times – I lost my film production company, all my savings, my heart and my mind. I collapsed getting to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and spent the next two years largely unable to function. In the Trauma Therapy Department of Women’s College Hospital, I found art therapy. I started a daily art-making practice that saved my life. I had gone offline and expressing myself in art and video was my lifeline, my communication with the outside world.

I remember the exact moment the idea for Queen of the Parade was born: I was walking my dogs and listening to “Marry The Night” after I had been binging on the BBC Series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. (I am obsessed with the gloriousness of Gypsy Fashion.)

That night, hearing your lyrics, “I won’t give up on my life/I’m a soldier to my own emptiness/I’m a winner,”  affected me profoundly, and set something inside me aflame. In a flash, I pictured myself as an enormous woman in a huge dress with a video screen on the front, with your song resounding in my head. I rushed home and wrote everything down in a crazy, inspired burst. This was the first step toward the 26-foot installation that was part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche in 2013; during the event itself, I listened to “Marry The Night” on repeat with ear buds while I was twenty feet in the air.


This led to my first commission by Partners in Art, who commissioned a gallery-sized 10-foot Queen. This was a terrific experience that enabled to connect more directly with the audience, and I didn’t want the performance to ever end. 

 


Something was awakened in me and this led to a whole body of work of experimenting on and off the space/ time continuum and speeding up and stretching out moments. I could finally breathe; I felt like I had come alive.


My new performing persona Think(k) Blank Human was born the following Nuit Blanche in Toronto as part of my installation TRIANGLE. I found comfort in her skin, and really came out of myself as a performer.

In 2016, I will be creating The Fall and Rise of The Queen of Jupiter, which feels like the natural progression of my work. This time, I will be kicking off my high heels and putting on Thin(k) Blank Human’s space boots, and I shall rise from a pile of fabric into a 40 foot Alien Queen. Instead of strutting, I will run and dance.

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This performance piece will run 33 minutes and I would love permission to use extended versions of “Marry The Night,” “ARTPOP” and “Applause” as the soundtrack for the ascension. 

I am approaching Thelma Madine, the Gypsy dressmaker from the series, to design the Queen of Jupiter’s Gown, and I would love to have  permission to use those three songs.

This is my story of re-invention, and I feel like this is the first piece I’m presenting that is truly me. I’ve been searching for authenticity through artifice and I finally have landed on something. I feel extremely compelled toward this project. For women who have crashed and burned and for those of us who have gotten up, I feel it is our job to inspire others to get up and stand as tall as we can. You preach this every day, and this is one of the many reasons for my unbridled admiration.

Please let me know your thoughts me using your music for The Fall and Rise of The Queen of Jupiter in 2016.

An ocean of appreciation from my Haus to yours,
Lisa 

Mighty Brave + Haus of Dada, Toronto
bosslady@mightybraveproductions.com

p.s. Thin(k) Blank Human did many a cover of Marry the Night, she was so inspired.

 

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In 2003, when I was just starting to make films, Angela Chao was in the camera department of my first two projects. After reconnecting last year, I fell in love with Angela’s fanciful painting and drawing on social media. Angela had found art-making as therapy and I was moved by her story as well her art. Her work was bright, bold and authentic and she created endlessly and freely. And Angela herself is so sweet and authentic – I particularly love how she snaps a picture to remember all her buyers.

“Mindless Doodles” is the second therapy installation that I’ve brought to my curation at 1313. I find that this type of work resounds with me as my own art career was born in the trauma therapy art room, and my daily art practice is what keeps me functioning. Angela and I have an understanding of art as something we need on a daily basis, to nourish our souls and stay connected to our true selves. And though the stories of our traumas are so different, the way we use our art is very similar. We understand each other’s specific trauma-based needs and refer to each other as Brain Buddies; and we’re both keen to spread awareness and help others discover art as a viable option as therapy.

When the April Windoxbox  became open unexpectedly, I was thrilled that Angela was able to bring a selection of her ceramics and her “20 minute” feeling paintings to fill the window gallery at Queen Street’s Gallery 1313.

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As well as bringing her work to Gallery 1313, Angela and I have started a series of collaborations including working with my performing persona, Thin(k) Blank Human. This summer is our inaugural exhibit together for The City of Toronto, for The Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games.  Our collaborations will be under the moniker Art Saves Lives.

I invite you to come to Angela’s opening this Thursday at 1313a Queen Street West at Brock Ave. 8pm – 10pm is open to the public. If you want to come at 7pm and have a drink, you have to private message me. Angela’s work will be shown until April 28th 2015.

About the “Mindless Doodles” Exhibit:

The installation “Mindless Doodles Art Therapy” in Gallery 1313’s Window Box space for the month of April dives into the life of Canadian filmmaker, Angela Chao, who uses the term Mindless Doodles to denote the images she sees that are not pre-conceived or arranged. These doodles come straight from the emotions and sensations of her current “crazy brain,”  the result of three on-set concussions she has suffered over the past one and a half years.

After trying many types of therapy, she found HandsForHealth.ca and cranio-therapist Edwin Galeano, with whom – after just one session – Angela found herself able to think freely and begin to escape the personality and mental changes, PTSD, depression and anxiety that had plagued her since her accidents. Even more exhilarating, she could sit still and accomplish things, an ability to that had been taken from her. She started doodling and discovered her hidden artist, and a place where she can leave behind mental challenges and be free to create.

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In her new career as an artist, she has already won an award at the Art Square gallery where her work premiered, as well as Flight Centre’s first prize of a trip to New Zealand and Australia in a competition with 1800 artists. She recently competed in Art Battle 2015, and has donated her artwork to an upcoming AIDs charity event on May 6 at TIFF.  In addition, her unique story has generated coverage by the Mississauga News, Brain Injury Association and Hospital News,
Looking forward, Angela Chao has joined created forces with Lisa Anita Wegner in creating an organization called ArtSavesLives.ca. Their goal is to help others battling a traumatic brain injury or post-concussion syndrome discover their own unique therapy.

Angela Chao’s work can be seen at Mindlessdoodle.ca For private viewing or commission art, please contact Angela at info@mindlessdoodle.ca.

Angela + Thin(k) Blank Human

Angela + Thin(k) Blank Human

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February 23 2015 Fritz Snitz for the haus of dada

Canadian Filmmaker Performance Artist, Lisa Anita Wegner was curiously missing from the opening party of Phil Anderson’s Sex Show V at Gallery 1313 on Queen Street West.

Still from Eva Gets a Better Job (2008)

Still from Eva Gets a Better Job (2008)

This group art show includes Eva Gets a Better Job (2008) a short film of Wegner’s. The opening on January 19th was a booming success and it was a shame the artist wasn’t there.

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Curator Fritz Snitz announced was forced to perform  (mī′grān′) at haus of dada in Toronto and was unable to make the Gallery1313 event.   (mī′grān′) performance poster

The Following day Ms. Wegner performed as Thin(k) Blank Human “Tech Scout for The Fall and Rise if The Queen of Jupiter” at Walker Court at The Art Gallery of Ontario. Afterward she teleported to The Artist Project. Photos by Angela Chao.

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The Artist Project with Adrienne Dagg

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Coming soon: Thin(k) Blank Human BadAss.
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the first week after my full time trauma therapy ended, i did a pretty good job of mostly rest and self care. doing just the basics to get ready for my upcoming exhibits and performances.

last night i slept from 5:30 pm to 10:30am (whoa) and then today my brain could barely chug itself around making a cup of coffee.  i was confused all day and stressed because there were a few small details i had to figure out. i needed to call in a friend to help and now i am ready for the rest of the week, and i can mostly rest. my cognition can still drop out and then i feel like i can’t wrap my brain around much besides cuddling my dogs and making stuff.

i feel a little better now that i made this picture. and wrote this. making stuff is really the only way through for me.

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Lisa Anita Wegner is a filmmaker, producer, curator and performer who is accustomed to working in small local art galleries and screening venues in Toronto Canada.  Working with established curator Patrick MacCauley, Wegner got a taste of working large-scale when she was the 26 foot tall Queen of the Parade in front of an enormous audience for Scotiabank’s 2013 Nuit Blanche.

 

 

This led to several seasons working with performance in multi media environments, exploring soundscapes as well as video. In 2014 Wegner played a lead role in a scripted film, her first in six years, acting as the Caucasian Agent in Will Kwan’s http://www.reelasian.com/festival-events/if-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail/ commissioned by Reel Asian International Film Festival. She brought her team back to create  a Ten Foot Queen of the Parade the Partners in Art Annual Fundraiser, which Wegner says felt like her coming out party, meeting the Toronto Art World.

 

“I can’t stop performing. It was a thrill to be back on a traditional film set for Will Kwan just as much as it is to don by Thin(k) Blank Human outfit and perform my deepest soul searching in my studio. I always knew I loved it but now that it’s a daily practise I truly can not stop.”

 

Wegner is known for mentoring several artists and filmmakers per season at her studio Haus of Dada, so it makes sense that she would enjoy the benefits of mentorship herself. In a recent meeting with her Anonymous Mentor Artist, Wegner was told to think bigger and focus on the Male Rockstar Swagger that she developed after STARDUST: Life on Jupiter? at The Black Cat in 2014.

And then came the magic words to Wegner’s ears,

“Follow that swagger and dream a breakout show. I can see a collaboration. There might be an opportunity soon, and I’d work with to bring it to life.”

Wegner and her team are currently preparing to lift the curtain and to prepare the world to meet Thin(k) Blank Human Faceless RockStar. Lisa Anita Wegner wants to make her mentor proud.

-Fritz Snitz for Haus of Dada *The Fictitious History of the Haus of Dada* 2015

Another project from the Haus : Lisa Anita Wegner collaborating with a five year old artist on TARGET:

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